Monday: The Christian’s Conflict
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“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal. 5:17; see also Rom. 7:14-24). How have you, in your own life as a believer, experienced the harsh and painful reality of these words?

Paul before and after his Conversion

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The struggle that Paul describes is not the struggle of every human being; it refers specifically to the inward tug-of-war that exists in the Christian. Because humans are born in harmony with the desires of the flesh (Rom. 8:7), it is only when we are born anew by the Spirit that a real spiritual conflict begins to emerge (John 3:6). This does not mean that non-Christians never experience moral conflict; they certainly do. But even that conflict is ultimately a result of the Spirit. The struggle of the Christian, however, takes on a new dimension, because the believer possesses two natures that are at war with one another, the flesh and the Spirit.

Throughout history, Christians have longed for relief from this struggle. Some have sought to end the conflict by withdrawing from society, while others have claimed that the sinful nature can be eradicated by some divine act of grace. Both attempts are misguided. Though by the Spirit’s power we certainly can subdue the desires of the flesh, the conflict will continue in various ways until we receive a new body at the Second Coming. Fleeing from society does not help, because no matter where we go, we take the struggle with us, and we will until death or the Second Coming.

Because we possess two natures, we are literally on both sides of the battle at once. The spiritual part of us desires what is spiritual and detests the flesh. The fleshly part of us, however, longs for the things of the flesh and opposes what is spiritual. Because the converted mind is too weak to resist the flesh by itself, the only hope we have of subduing the flesh is by making a daily decision to side with the Spirit against our sinful selves. This is why Paul is so insistent that we choose to walk in the Spirit.

From your own experience of the battle between these two natures, what advice would you give to a Christian who is trying to come to terms with this never-ending struggle with self?
Amen!(39)

Comments

Monday: The Christian’s Conflict — 16 Comments

  1. As Christians we all have struggles in life. But I have learn that only God can give us that spirit when we come to him. If we are to walk in the Spirit we have to seek our God daily. Matthew 6:33 but seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.
    We as Christians must focus on God and not be of the flesh because when we take our eyes of God, we are lost. We become of the world (flesh). Everyday or hour is a struggle, temptation is right there in our faces. But we must hold on to our faith, believe,trust, hope,and never, never give up we are to depend on him. We must have a relationship with God, daily and he will do the rest. He is our only hope.

    Amen!(33)
  2. As Christians, we still struggle in a body naturally born of sin, by default it gravitates towards the lusts of the world [Rom 8:7 - Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be].
    The sinful elements of this world focus on ‘Self’ – everything sells to and revolves around Me - to indulge in the lusts of the flesh and sin. That is a characteristic of the devil – the first sin was born out of ‘pride’ of self. If I look closely at my daily struggles with sin, most of which trace directly back to indulgence of Self – If things don’t go “MY” way, or if someone/ something hurts/offends “ME” or “I” am not happy about this or that…and we get the picture, and most times my own lack of temperance and self-control. Furthermore, the enemy who is like a roaring lion seeking to devour us, is never asleep on the job.
    But God is indeed forever faithful [1 Cor 10: 13 - No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind]. But the choice is still ours to make when confronted with the temptation to sin– we must choose God and choose to die to self-daily.
    Take the story of Peter walking on the water, as long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus he doesn’t go under water; as we must do with the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit, we must stay focused on Jesus, then the things of these world will go dim. Our priorities in life change and align more to what God’s will is for us individually.
    Furthermore, Christ equips all His children for this battle is not only against the lustful flesh but also against ‘authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ [Eph 6:10-18 (10) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (11) Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…..]

    Amen!(22)
  3. What we desire is what we think of and that is what we find ourselves doing and doing repeatedly. At the time of being tempted to do wrong, seek to do something that connects us to the Spirit dwell upon scripture, do a good deed, or talk to someone, a prayer partner, someone that you see as a person of faith that can encourage you. The more we desire the things of the Spirit that less is our desire for the things of the flesh.

    Amen!(20)
    • I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol(Hades), Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
      Psalms 16:8‭-‬11 NKJV

      Amen!(1)
      • These verses make the statement come alive it's hard to be lost, because the Cross is set before me. I would have to trample on the Cross to be lost. God forbid that I would trample on the Lord who I set before me. He is my joy. God is good. In Him do I put my trust.

        Amen!(1)
  4. By fully and faithfully surrendering to God and His guidance, we will not do away with the desires of the flesh but His will in us shall subdue and the Spirit will control our actions, even what the flesh does

    Amen!(13)
  5. We cannot help ourselves, is humanly impossible, you can't offer what you don't have; It's only God that is perfect & righteous,our everyday walk and dependent on Him will elude us of our carnal minds and victory over the desires of the flesh;then daily studying of the scripture, prayers and supplication, total surrender self to God, maintaining faith in Christ Jesus,surely victory will be ours and then Christians struggle over sin would be destroyed utterly as he comes

    Amen!(6)
  6. True that our worst enemy is not outside, but it is inside! Being tempted is not the problem, giving way to temptation is! Although we do have to deal with this reality all the time, and facing the fact that we ourselves are our worst enemy, God still wants us to be happy! He desires us to develop trust in Him to fix the problems that we cannot. Christ is a friend to be with all the time! He is the one for us to run and hide in His peace! No matter how knowledgeable or ignorant of our own nature we might be.

    Amen!(8)
  7. Of the two natures that fight within us the stronger will always win and will influence our choices. We can determine which nature within us we want to be the stronger one by feeding it and starving the other. We feed these two natures through the avenues of the soul; The five senses.Even if what you watch may not seem harmful at the surface, if it is not spiritual it will strengthen the natural man putting the spiritual man to the disadvantage. Let us therefore always strive to dwell or feed on the spiritual and live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God so that we may grow the spiritual inner man. Where the spiritual man is strengthened the natural man stands no chance. With prayer this is possible to all. Ephesians 3:16-19.

    Amen!(15)
  8. Adam was perfect. He had his flesh and he also had his sinless nature.

    When he sinned, his sinless nature became the sinful (or just the sin) nature, and his flesh was now subject to decay, sickness and death.

    When Christ came, he took on the same flesh as Adam, after it has been subject to decay, sickness, death, and the affliction that can come from temptations. However, He did NOT have the sinful nature.

    When we are born, we have both Adam’s fallen sin nature and the weak human flesh. We have no power to do right, because the body of sin is in us and weighs us down. The weak flesh is subject to temptations, but we have no power to resist or be victorious because of the weight and control of the sin nature.

    When we come to Christ, the sin nature dies, that body of sin, that old man dies, such that we are freed from the power of sin. Something clearly dies. We are now free to choose to do right or not. Before that sin nature died, we had no power of choice. We however, still have the flesh through which temptations haunt us. We now have Christ's nature - to be able to do right because of the power of the Holy Spirit now residing in us.

    Please read Rom 6:1-14 carefully for an explanation of this.

    The flesh nature will still be us until Christ returns to change this mortality into immortality. 1 Cor 15:54.

    Amen!(4)
  9. Even Christ our Substitute who took on our nature, human nature, was tested and severely tempted with every temptation that we will ever face, yet He did not sin, not even once Hebrews 4:15. Jesus prepared to face the daily assaults of the evil one by obtaining overcoming power through communion with His Father early in the morning in the silence and recluse of the mountaintop, and through fortification with the WORD. In fact, our Savior was tried beyond the limit of our temptations because He overcame on the authority of "it is written".
    Jesus is our consummate Exemplar. If we walk in His footsteps we too will overcome by His power as we face the daily warfare between the flesh and the Spirit that wages in our minds and bodies. He has promised that He will never leave nor forsake us but that He will be with us through every trial and temptation. From a well known hymn "Father lead me day by day" may this be our prayer:

    When I'm tempted to do wrong
    Make me steadfast wise and strong;
    And when all alone I stand
    Shield me with Thy mighty hand.

    Amen!(6)
  10. We need to learn more about the power of the Holy Spirit, and what it can do in our lives, moment by moment. Read "Steps to Personal Revival" by Helmut Heibel

    Amen!(4)
  11. We are born in sin and shaped in iniquity and this makes it impossible to fight against flesh by and of ourselves. It is only when we invite the Holy Spirit to live within us and this is not a daily invitation but a minutely and a hourly one. Sometimes we make the mistake of praying daily but we need to do this more often to fight against the wiles of the devil who is seeking whom he may devour. When we try to do what is right and rely on our own strength we fail. God provided the Holy Spirit to help us on our journey.We serve a mighty God who did not just leave us on our own but He provided a comforter, a guide, a very present help in trouble. Let us accept God's gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Amen!(9)
  12. Another way of reading the Galatians 5:17 is that as we submit to the Holy Spirit, He prevents us from doing the bad things that our carnal nature would have us do. This is supported by vs. 16 where Paul has just said if we walk in the Spirit we won't fulfill the lust of the flesh.

    Paul explains this more fully in Romans 7 and 8. To understand these 2 chapters, realize the word law can be understood as a force. We speak of, "the law of gravity" & "the force of gravity". In Romans 7 if the battle is just between the law (or force) of sin in my members (Rom 7:23) and the law (or force) of my mind (will power alone) (Rom 7:23, 18) then the law of sin eventually wins (Rom 7:19, 23, 25).

    The solution is found in Rom 8 when a third law (or force) is brought to the battle, the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:2). When our will power (law of the mind) submits to and is united with the Holy Spirit (the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus) then we can live above the law (or force) of sin in our lives, we are no longer sin's slave to do its bidding (Rom 8:2). The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from 2 things: (1) the law (or force) of sin in us and (2) death (eternal death from which there is no resurrection) (Rom 8:2). As we submit to the Spirit we can live righteous lives (Rom 8:4).

    Amen!(4)
  13. Nice illistration, reminds me of the quote in Christ Object Lessons page 159. As long as the current(Force) is flowing through us, we, in all due respect, are levitated(by the Force). "The language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul."

    Amen!(6)
  14. The seemingly never ending conflict between my human nature and God’s Spirit will only go on as long as I live. In the cross, I see the awful extent of God’s love for me—the Father did not spare his own Son but delivered him up for me. From this I know that he will do everything in his power to save me as I keep focused on him. It is this love displayed for me that draws me to God, in spite of my failures. He is my Heavenly Father, who loves me and desires that I walk in his ways, so that I can have peace and joy in spite of circumstances. Nothing can separate me from his love demonstrated in his Son and it is on this rock of God’s faithfulness, not my faithfulness, that my hope and faith are founded. [Romans 8:31-39]

    Amen!(2)

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